Montrezl Harrell called Luka Doncic a “b**-a white boy” during the Clippers’ Game 3 win over the Mavericks.
That became a Thing.
Harrell and Doncic then tried to quash the noise.
Doncic, via Mark Medina of USA Today:
“It was OK. No worries,” Doncic said. “A lot of emotions on the court, especially with the playoffs. Sometimes you say things you don’t want to say. He apologized. I respect that. So no problems.”
Let’s just jump straight to the question that always comes up: What if Doncic called Harrel a “b**-a Black boy”?
It’d be different.
There is a long and deep history of white people using racism – perpetuated, among other ways, by language – to repress Black people. The same isn’t true the other way. Anti-Black words have more power. Disparaging words about white people have been far more harmless.
Which is why Doncic so easily moved on and why Harrell didn’t face punishment.
This was trash talk. It’s not supposed to be nice. As long as it doesn’t reach a meaningful level of offensiveness, it’s often considered a fun part of basketball. That’s all this was.
Once caught on camera, it transcended the court. Harrell’s comment was discussed in more civil settings. There, it didn’t hold up nearly as well. So, Harrell apologized. Better to do that than stand by his remark in the calm outside an NBA playoff game.
But if this were never shown on television, I doubt Harrell would’ve gone out of his way to apologize to Doncic. I doubt Doncic would’ve held a grudge. This was a moment because everyone saw it, not because it was a big deal to the actual people involved.